Political Assistant Job Careers - United States US Embassy / Mission

Job Title:         Political Assistant
Organisation: United States US Embassy, US Mission in Uganda
Duty Station: Kampala, Uganda
Salary Grade: FSN-9 (Ugshs 75,718,515 to 110,993,513 p.a. inclusive of allowances).
Vacancy Announcement Number: 72-16

About US Embassy:
The United States Embassy in Kampala, Uganda has enjoyed diplomatic relations with Uganda for over 30 years.  Ambassador Deborah R. Malac currently heads the U.S Mission to Uganda.  The Mission is composed of several offices and organizations all working under the auspices of the Embassy and at the direction of the Ambassador.

Among the offices operating under the U.S Mission to Uganda are:
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Peace Corps 
Job Summary: The incumbent is the US Embassy’s Political Assistant for political-military and regional affairs at Embassy Kampala. Incumbent serves at the principle LES supporting reporting responsibilities on complex political-military issues, Uganda’s bilateral external relations, regional foreign policy initiatives, terrorism, and regional peace and security. These issues are strategically important to the United States and receive high-level attention from officials in the State Department, Department of Defense, National Security Staff, and White House. As the sole Political LES handling these complex issues, the incumbent must have a detailed understanding of Uganda’s military and foreign policy interests in the region and how those interests affect U.S. interests and objectives. The incumbent must have a detailed knowledge of issues related to the East African Community, the African Great Lakes Region, and the Horn of Africa.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:  
Develop and Maintain Contacts: 30%
  • The Political Assistant must initiate and maintain a broad range of contacts in his/her portfolio at the highest levels, which includes government (members of parliament, senior military officers, and civil servants in key ministries), political parties, diplomatic missions (DRC, Somalia, Rwanda and others), academia, Diaspora communities, civil society and the media. To maintain and expand these contacts, incumbent attends civil society gatherings, important public meetings, legislative sessions and conferences and seminars as well as track social media accounts relevant to his/her portfolio. Drawing on his/her broad base of contacts, the incumbent assists with the selection of candidates for Public Affairs programs.
  • The incumbent is also responsible for suggesting new contacts with which the Section can engage. He/she helps orient new American officers by introducing them to key political contacts and opinion leaders.
  • The incumbent also develops guest lists for representations events, and advises them on relative importance and experience of state policy makers.
  • The Political Assistant must therefore keep abreast of domestic and regional events as well as its various actors and trends.
Research, Report, and Advise on Somalia, Lord’s Resistance Army, and Political Military Issues: 20%
  • Uganda is increasingly carving out a niche as a regional security leader and its relations with its neighbors significantly influence peace and security in the region.  The incumbent has reporting and research responsibilities of broad scope, complexity, and sensitivity in the fields of political-military affairs, Uganda’s bilateral external relations, regional foreign policy, and other external affairs and reports jointly to the Political Section’s Political-Military Officer and the External Affairs Officer. Often at his/her own initiative, the incumbent must gather information, initiate meetings with new and existing contacts, conduct research, and develop extensive contacts on complex military and regional foreign policy-related issues. The incumbent is responsible for monitoring developments within the Ugandan military, including promotions and shake-ups of top military leadership. Due to Uganda’s influence as a regional military leader, as well as a key U.S. partner on security issues, the incumbent also drafts cables, memorandum, and official correspondence for the Political Section, Embassy Front Office and Washington. The incumbent also reviews, verifies, and distributes information from a wide range of media sources in English and local languages.
  • As a result, the incumbent maintains regular contact with Ugandan government and military officials as well as the Somali Diaspora community living in Uganda. Due to the wide range of multilateral efforts related to issues in Somalia, the incumbent must also maintain contact with diplomatic, governmental and civil society contacts in Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, and other nations. This work requires the incumbent to follow military, political, and social developments in Somalia in order to provide timely reports on strategic issues for the United States.
  • The incumbent follows military and humanitarian programs related to the counter-LRA efforts and is Post’s primary expert on issues related to the post-LRA reconstruction in northern Uganda where the United States has invested over $700 million since 2008. The incumbent is responsible for providing up-to-date information on the LRA in response to requests from the highest levels of the U.S. government.
  • The incumbent also assists regular TDY staff working on LRA issues and frequent visits by Congressional delegations and government officials to examine LRA issues.
Research, Report, and Advise on Regional Affairs, the Great Lakes Region, Terrorism, and Security Agencies: 20%                                                                                                                                                      
  • The incumbent must possess an understanding of governance and conflict issues in the Great Lakes Region (DRC and Rwanda especially), the East African Community (Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda), South Sudan and Horn of Africa (Somalia especially), the African Union, and the United Nations as well as maintaining contacts with regional bodies (civil society and governmental) working on these issues.
  • Uganda was the primary supporter of South Sudanese independence and remains heavily engaged in all issues related to South Sudan and Sudan.
  • The incumbent studies and reports on Uganda’s relations with South Sudan and Sudan and provides context for policymakers on Uganda’s views. The incumbent must use discretion and judgment to maintain regular contact with Ugandan officials and other regional contacts based in Uganda. 
  • The incumbent must maintain a variety of contacts and be able to make sense of and summarize complex security and legal issues, including the high-profile trials of terror suspects.
  • The incumbent is responsible for following and reporting on issues related to human rights abuses and management of the Ugandan military and police. As the police often intervene to halt protests related to domestic grievances, the incumbent must also maintain an understanding of how domestic issues affect the military and police.
  • The incumbent is also responsible for monitoring developments within the Ugandan police and security forces, including promotions and shake-ups of top leadership. 
Human Rights, Trafficking in Persons, Child Labor: 20 %
  • The incumbent also serves as the back-up for human rights and democracy issues and is the primary person responsible for covering Trafficking in Persons and Child Labor issues; including researching and drafting the content for the Congressionally-mandated annual reports on trafficking in persons and child labor.
  • The incumbent assists the Political Specialist by monitoring domestic politics, civil society, human rights, democracy and governance. Due to Uganda’s religious diversity, complex social and political issues, and poor human rights record, compiling the mandated reports requires an extraordinary amount of organization, effort, professionalism, and tact, and the incumbent must sort through multiple, often contradictory claims in a fair and objective manner. 
  • The incumbent must develop and maintain effective working relationships with a wide range of senior government, police, prisons, military, civil society representatives and social media opinion leaders involved in human rights and governance related issues.
  • Democracy and human rights developments are significant components of the bilateral relationship and these issues receive high-level attention from officials in the State Department, National Security Staff, and White House. Both issues are sensitive, particularly when researching human rights violations allegations against the Ugandan government or military, and require the incumbent to exercise discretion, tact, and keen judgment.  Due to the difficult democratic environment, the incumbent must coordinate closely with American officers to report on these complex issues while being conscious of misperceptions by some officials that democracy and human rights issues threaten the sovereignty and stability of the Ugandan government. 
Travel and Operational Responsibilities:  10%     
  • The incumbent may travel independently especially in Kampala and the surrounding districts and other parts of Uganda as the need arises, to keep up-to-date on political and social developments of importance to US interests across the board. Through this travel, incumbent keeps the Political Section informed about developments in decentralization, grassroots reach of political parties, human rights issues, communal relations and tensions, political personalities among others.
  • The incumbent assists in the planning and organizing of visits by state Department officials, Cabinet Secretaries, other Executive Branch officials and Congressional Delegations. Although this is done under the supervision of American officers; the incumbent plays a role not only in logistical arrangements but also in suggesting site visits, tours and meetings with key Ugandan personalities.
  • The Political Assistant arranges meetings with key political contacts ensuring that American officers and official visitors are able to gather comprehensive information and take full advantage of the visit. S/he recommends approaches to be taken by American principals in the meetings and prepares background and biographic material. Incumbent assists Protocol and Front Office as required.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience:
NOTE:  All applicants must address each selection criterion detailed below with specific and comprehensive information supporting each item.
  • The applicants for the United US Embassy Political Assistant career placement opportunity should hold a university degree in political science, political economy, economics, history, journalism and human rights is required.
  • At least five years’ experience in foreign policy, political, social development, academia or journalism.
  • Broad knowledge of the host country’s political, economic, social structure and regional security environment. Must have a comprehensive understanding of U.S. foreign policy, U.S. interests in Uganda, and U.S. development assistance to Uganda.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, analytical, communication, planning and organizational skills.
  • Ability to develop and maintain an extensive range of high-level contacts within the host country government, local political parties, security forces, local NGOs and civil society.
  • Ability to plan, organize and execute complex research projects and prepare precise, accurate and factual analytical reports often on sensitive topics that require a high degree of personal courage given prevailing political circumstances in Uganda.
  • Language Proficiency:  Level IV fluent English in speaking, reading and writing required.  Level III local language skills also required
How to Apply:
All those interested in working with the US mission in Kampala should send their applications and strictly adhere to the following:
  • Download a completed and signed Universal Application for Employment as a Locally Employed Staff, Download it Here.
  • Any additional documentation that supports or addresses the requirements listed above (e.g. transcripts, degrees, etc.)

Submit Application To:

Human Resources Office
By email at KampalaHR@state.gov

NB: Your application will be reviewed if you have fulfilled all the requirements including submission of standard file types such as Microsoft Word (.doc) and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) in a single attachment (No Zipped files, Links or Multiple Attachments) and should not exceed 10MB. Please clearly indicate the position number and title you are applying for on the DS-174 form.

Deadline: 14th August 2016

The US Mission in Kampala provides equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment in employment to all people without regard to race, color religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, marital status, or sexual orientation.  The Department of State also strives to achieve equal employment opportunity in all personnel operations through continuing diversity enhancement programs.

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